Removing Copper From Rock

Discussion in 'User-Created Articles' started by jhnrb, Sep 28, 2005.

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  1. jhnrb


    Mar 9, 2005
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    Removing Copper from old coral rock, or, treating it to make sure there is no copper so it can be used in a reef tank.

    Whenever you have coral rock that has been used in other aquariums
    and you are not sure whether copper may have been used in the tank
    that the rock was previously in (or if you are sure that copper WAS
    used), a treatment outlined below will make sure that the copper is
    removed and that the coral rock can safely be used in a reef

    The procedure is really simple.

    Here is what you will need

    1 or 2 buckets
    Muriatic acid
    Plastic or Latex gloves
    A plastic sheet to put underneath the buckets to avoid spilling

    About 2 hours of time (more if you have a great deal of rock to
    treat, less if you only have one or two pieces)


    - Take a bucket and fill it with regular water.
    - Add 1 tbsp of Muriatic acid to the bucket per gallon of water
    - Wear your gloves
    - Stir to mix the water and the Muriatic acid
    - Place one or two pieces of rock in the bucket (depending on size)
    - Swish the rocks around in the water/muriatic acid mixture
    - Let sit for about 15 minutes
    - Empty the bucket
    - Rinse the rock with freshwater
    - Refill the bucket and add muriatic acid again
    - Put the rock back in and swish it around
    - Let sit for 5 minutes
    - Take rock out and rinse it under freshwater
    - Empty the bucket
    - Refill it one more time and add muriatic acid again
    - Put the rock back in and swish it around a couple of times.
    - Let sit for 5 minutes
    - Now perform a copper test on the water in the bucket
    - If no copper is detected you are finished but rinse the rock well
    to get all traces of the acidic water out of it.

    - If copper is detected repeat the above steps until no copper is
    detected when you test.

    - Usually the amount of copper will be removed in 3 or 4 washings
    with acidified water but sometimes you may need to do it a couple of
    times more if the amount of copper on the rocks was high.

    The ultimate test is to place the rock in a bucket that contains
    just plain water and let it sit overnite.

    Test in the morning to make sure you cannot detect any copper. If
    you do not find any the rock is ready for use in your reef tank.

    Be careful when using Muriatic acid. It burns holes in your carpet!
    If it gets on your hands (if you did not use gloves) rinse
    immediately with plenty of water.

    Dispose of the water that contains muriatic acid in the normal
    jhnrb, Sep 28, 2005
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